A year past her death my watch went haywire,

not the hours but the days and dates – jumping

or not to their proper spots sometime in the night

as intended. I believe she may have gotten a kick

out of that, floating beyond time, but just able

to make out what happens here, as from her chair

by the fireplace, bright little eyes dimmed behind

thick glasses that never enabled her to see well –

the one loss she lamented over and over until

those who loved her got angry and scolded.

Maybe my ailing watch, readable but unreliable,

is her revenge for cross words then. She knows,

though, that her carriage clock still ticks away,

losing or gaining time and never exact

for more than one day. With time wobbly,
she could always leave for something early,

dragging children along, fearing lateness.
It is never polite to be late, she taught – never.

She died early in the morning, after a long,

ritual withdrawal from food. A little water,

no food. None. Her hands grew clawlike.

Are you comfortable, I asked, watching the time.

Fairly, she said, eyes shut, sly smile (dry humor

much favored), her clock ticking on the bureau,

odors of cologne, clean sheets, age.

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